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Pivoting Techniques

Module 1 

Writing on the Guitar

 Songwriter exclusive

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Pivoting Techniques 

1. What are you going to learn? 

This course delivers a specific skill set of guitar techniques, the pivoting techniques, to help you develop very creative guitar accompaniments in your songs. It is part of the creative guitar school songwriting modules.

You will learn to make melodies with chords to match the emotional variations of the vocal line, to enjoy yourself even more in music,  and open a pathway that will allow your inner creativity to flow seamlessly and therefore take your songs to a world class level. 

2. What will you be able to do afterwards?

After you have finished the course, the next time you see a Dm chord, you will no longer just strum it, but make it sound like what the pro piano player or orchestra would do, behind the vocalist of a song. 

You will never play a standard chordal shape in the same manner. Your first impulse or option, will no longer be to strum all the strings at the same time, but to choose from other better sounding shapes to create melodic lines that define the groove, the chord and harmonic context.

You will be able  to accompany with more or less intensity, playing chords with one note, two notes or three at a time, with more or less rhythm,  in lower or higher registers, and always creating beautiful melodic lines. 

And, you will also be able to apply the pivoting techniques, in different styles, with different guitar sounds, in different modes and keys.

3.  Does this ever happen to you? 

  • Don’t you get tired of always playing your typical chords in the same manner?
  • Have you ever felt that a song is boring and thought that adding a new section would solve the problem but it didn’t? 
  • Do you ever feel the need to play a second verse with more power but you do not know how to? 
  • Have you ever taken your new song to your band, and when they play it, all the accompaniment sounds like just one big sonic mass of chords, where you cannot hear what you play, and need to crank up your guitar or vocals? 

I must say… all the previous has happened to me a lot, and that is why I developed the pivoting techniques that I will share with you. 

3.1 How can you solve these problems and many more?

So, how can you solve these problems and many more? By applying my pivoting techniques, adding extreme melodic value to your accompaniment, reinventing your selected chords and making them pulsate, come alive. 

As a result, your accompaniment will sound clearer, groovier.  It will make the song sound more interesting. Furthermore, the accompaniment can now be louder in the mix and not have to sit in the boring background.  

You will be able to repeat sections of a song and never get tired of them, as you will learn to create variations, to match the emotional contour of the vocal line in the soft and extreme emotions. 

4. How does the course work?

4.1 What do you need to know to take the course?

This course is for songwriters and guitarists of all levels. The examples are written with tabs and standard notation. But, you will further benefit, if you know how to read standard notation. 

You must have an understanding of basic open string chords.  It will also be beneficial if you can sing songs and play chords at the same time,  and, if you can play along the recorded original tracks of your favourite songs.

Have you taken the prerequisite test to see where you are, and to find out what else you would need to work on before signing up for the course ? If not please do so. 

4.2 The Prerequisite Test

Before we begin, we’d like to learn a bit about your level of guitar playing. 

In order to follow the course and benefit from it you need to have:

  • A basic understanding of how to read, both music written with tabs and standard.
  • A thorough understanding of basic open string chords.  
  • The ability to sing full songs and play chords at the same time.
  • Transcriptions skills: the ability to hear a melody, play it on the guitar and write it in tab or music notation.

To see where you are, and to find out what else you would need to work on before signing up for the course please do the following two assignments:

  • Download this track and pdf file. ( insert link)
  • Learn the melody and chords.
  • Record your own version of both melody and accompaniment, and submit as an mp3 file to info@thomaslorenzo.com.au.
  • Write the melody with tabs and rhythmic notation and submit to  info@thomaslorenzo.com.au.
  • Submit a recording ( mp3 file to info@thomaslorenzo.com.au.) of you playing another song of your choice. You have to decide what the word play a song means to you. 

Thank you, and have fun!

Pivoting techniques

4.2 Course flow

The course lasts twelve weeks and is divided into thirteen video lessons of approximately five minutes duration each. I will deliver the first two lessons in the first week. 

Please follow each video with its transcript in the text section of each lesson. The text version also has the scores and the download links. 

4.2.1 What to do every week ?

Each lesson is unlocked on a weekly basis. 

You need to:

1. Complete all weekly assignments by the deadline, to have active access to the new lesson. 

2. Sign up every week, (check emails, announcements)  for the google hangouts session with the teacher two days prior to the session. There are only ten spaces per session. Please submit your questions via our google group category at least 24 hours before the session. If you cannot make it to the session, do not worry as you will have access to the video of such session, that I will leave in our group google drive folder.

3. Participate in the  group google forum and review your classmates’ questions and assignments.

Please read the course index to understand the specific lesson layout and timetables.

4.3 Assignments

Every weekly lesson has a set of assignments. You must complete them all in a satisfactory manner,  in the same week, to be able to progress and have access to the next lesson. If you do not complete the assignments, you will no longer be able to participate actively in the group. 

There are four types of assignments in each lesson

  1. Skill Test: A quiz of multiple choice questions to help you understand the topic. This assignment is self assessed.
  2. Play along with me:  A selection of examples for you to play along with, to learn and copy a technique. Memorise all chords, shapes, combinations and repeat all the play along examples until you can fluently play with me at the same time. If you struggle,  slow down the tempo using the button on the video settings, but, before moving on to the assignment section, you need to have mastered all play along examples.
  3. Create your own:In this assignment you create your own examples to develop specific techniques. You will need to record them, so you will need access to recording equipment, for example a smartphone. You must submit your recording to our google group forum for peer review and interaction. 
  4. Inspire: And last but most important is the inspire assignment. You will compose your own examples with vocals or lead, to prove your mastery level. You will need to record this assignment, but in this case, you will need a multitrack digital recorder as garage band or similar. You are required to submit to the teacher via our group google drive. Look for your gmail invitation to join. 

4.3.1. Grades

You will only receive grades for the Inspire assignments. These you must submit to the teacher by the group google drive. 

Each completed inspire assignment will grant you a skill certification.Once you have finished them all  you will receive the final certification called Mastery of Pivoting Techniques.

5. How will you learn and master the Pivoting Techniques

You will learn to master these techniques in four stages:

  • Stage 1: In stage one you will learn between four or five different shapes of the seven chords in the C major scale. You will also learn to easily transpose these shapes to other keys as D and E , with the use of a capo. 
  • Stage 2. In stage two, with the objective of creating an accompaniment to the vocal line,  you will learn to create melodies with all these shapes, with the top, middle and bottom notes of the chords.
  • Stage 3.  In stage three you will learn to play the chords with one, two or three notes, ostinatos, pedals, added 7ths, stepped melodic lines, combinations and variations, to match the groove and the desired intensity of your accompaniment.
  • Stage 4. I stage four you will Master this knowledge by combining all tools and creating your own accompaniments. 

6. Steps to take before commencement

1. Sign up for the starting date  

Once you have submitted your prerequisite test and have been accepted, sign up for your desired starting date. ( view announcements or follow this link)

2. Pay

You will then receive confirmation and an invoice for payment of the course. Once you have paid, you will receive an invitation by email to join your google group forum and another email to your introductory video. 

3. Get familiar with 

You will need a gmail account and practice how to use your google group, the google hangout, google calendar for events and how to submit files through google drive before the course starts. Note that you should have the same gmail account for your youtube, google drive, google group and google calendar services. 

7. Help 

7.1 Question and answer sessions

Once a week, (check emails, announcements) sign up for the google hangouts session with the teacher two days prior to the session. There are only ten spaces per session. Please submit your questions via our google group category at least 24 hours before the session. If you cannot make it to the session, do not worry as you will have access to the video of such session, that I will leave in our group google drive folder.

7.2 More help

If you need extra help these are your options:

  1. You will not be left alone in your learning. Please submit all your questions to the google group forum, help category
  2. Premium support: Extra one on one 30 minute paid consultation, available on a weekly basis for all creative examples. (View prices)
  3. Do you need to talk to me? Please send me an email to info@thomaslorenzo.com.au

Lesson 4 – How to play a melody

This is the video transcript of lesson number 4 of the Beginners Guitar Course: How to play a melody.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson one, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson two, here.

You may read the transcript of the Beginners Guitar Course lesson three, here.

Consolidation exercises 

As mentioned, every week I add one more exercise to your daily 20 minute guitar practice session.

The new guitar exercise builds on the previous. Do not practice only the new exercise because you will not learn and you will feel very frustrated and give up.

You must consolidate all the previous musical examples on a daily basis. The better you know them the easier it will be to learn new musical material. It will take you 10 weeks to consolidate all.

I have designed every exercise to help you improve your aural rhythmic and performance skills gradually. You need to work and build on these three skills on a daily basis.  Please practice the program in order so as you may achieve the learning goals that I established.

Do not concentrate your practice on what you do not know, practice and have fun with what you know and then add new music new every week. 

You must practice every exercise exactly the way your learnt it. If you cannot do such please go back to the video to refresh.

The song

This is the new song you will learn, where I combine the C, Am, Em, and G chords. It also has four  eight bar melodies, that I created with the C scale.

What new vocabulary do you need to learn to master, play this song and learn how to play a melody:

  • The C scale with open strings 
  • 4 melodies of 8 bars duration 

How are you going to learn ?

(Step by step + LISP routine + aural comprehension + repetition ) x 4 = Happiness

Step by step, applying the LISP routine with a lot of aural comprehension, then you add quite a few repetitions and you will end playing fluently the song .  

Step one 

In Step one you will learn the C scale, with open strings, the alphabet, with which all these melodies are constructed. In other words, you will practice the pathway, where to find all the melodies. This the first step for how to play a melody.  

Step two

In Step two you will learn to play slowly each of the individual 4 melodies using the L.I.S.P routine.

Step three

In Step 3 you will consolidate with: On your own routine.

Step four

In Step four you will combine all the 8 melodies.

Step 1 – The C scale

I will start on the 6th string and play it from E. Play along with me and sing the sound.  I will now play it descending from the G note. 

C scale first position How to play a melody

Let’s play now two notes per beat.  How do you count two notes per beat ? You add the word and, in between.  In order to play each note two times per beat you will need to alternate your index and middle fingers as in the video.

Play along with me. 

Play along with me descending from G.

Rewind and repeat.

Step 2 – L.I.S.P Melody 1

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers. This will help learn how to play a melody.

How to play a melody on the guitar?

Per Beat

How many notes?

Per Note: 

Same, up or down?

Beat one  

How many notes are there? None.

Beat two

How many notes are there? Two. 

Are they both the same? Yes. 

Beat three  

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? Yes. 

Beat four 

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same? No.

1st note, same, up or down?It goes up. 

2nd note, same, up, or down? It goes up. 

Next bar 

Beat one

How many notes are there? One. 

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? Same.

Beat two

How many notes are there? One.

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes down. 

Beat three

How many notes are there? One. 

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? Same.

Beat four 

How many notes are there? One. 

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? Down.

Note: These two bars are repeated twice.

On your own 

Stop the video and play the two bars on your own. Consolidate your how to play a melody.

Play along with me 

Play along with me at half the tempo.   

Play along with me at the original tempo 

Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 1

L.I.S.P. Melody Number 2

  • Listen
  • Imagine 
  • Sing 
  • Play Comprehend 

Before you play, comprehend what happens on each beat of the melody, in order. Ask your self the following questions, sing and point to your fingers. This will help you learn to play a melody.

Per Beat: How many notes?

Per Note: Same, up or down?

Beat one 

How many notes are there? One, it is a D. 

Beat two

How many notes are there? One.

Where does the note start? On beat 2 and. 

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes up.

Beat three and four 

Same as one and two.

Next Bar 

Beat one and two  

Same as previous  beats one, two, three and four.

Beat three

How many notes are there? Two.

Are they both the same?No

1st note, same, up or down?It goes down. 

2nd note, same, up, or down? It goes down

Beat four

How many notes are there? One.

Same as the previous, does it go up, or down? It goes down.

On your own 

Stop the video and play the two bars on your own. 

Play along with me 

Play along with me at half the tempo.   

Play along with me at the original tempo. 

Rewind and Repeat full L.I.S.P of Melody 2

Practice the song 

  • Play along with me Melody one and two 4 times. 
  • Play along with me the chords of Melody one, 4 times. They are the same as you have played in Song number one and two. 

Assignments

Repeat the video as many times as you need to until you have memorised how to play the scale and melody number 1 and 2.

L.I.S.P  Melody 1, 2 

After you have L.I.S.P the melody , write in detail your replies  to:

  • Per beat: How many notes ?
  • Per note: Same up or down ?

Record yourself

Once you have memorised the melody (pitch and rhythm).  Record yourself in video, with your phone, playing along the corresponding melody trac.k

Your recording must answer yes to the following check questions. Once you are satisfied please submit your recording to the teacher.

Check questions 

  • Did you turn on your metronome ? 
  • Did you tap your feet while recording ?
  • Did you count it in ?
  • Did you sing what you were doing? 

You have access to tabs of all melodies in your drop box folder.

Music Production and Songwriting

A thorough understanding of how to hear and play a melody will help you write your songs matching closely your emotions and words to the appropriate chord and melody. Read more about how to write a song.